Do you know how little time you have to grab someone's attention, let alone hold their concentration online? It is very, very slim. But we're not going to delve into the depressing amount of noise we need to battle to get our voices heard. Nope! Today we're going to talk about the term: call to action, or CTA.
A CTA is an instruction to provoke an immediate action. It's the action to get your product sold, your workshops filled, your content read, and your name out there. It could be a link, a prompt, or specific instructions.
Far too often I see content shared on social media or in blog posts that read or look like this:
A status or a tweet that reads something like: "To find out more, head on over to our website!"
An image directing readers to go some place else to find out more (shops, event pages, etc)
Blog posts with no direct links to pertinent outside information
Just an image with no copy at all
What do all of the above have in common? There is no easy CTA. None of these items offer the reader the opportunity to take an action right then and there. Yes, the copy may ask the reader to perform an action, but by then you've lost your reader (and prospective client). If you are looking to sell something or direct people somewhere, without offering that extra step of an actionable, clickable link, your content is as good as not posted. Asking people to take that extra step to find your website is basically asking them to go find something else shiny on the web. Because that's exactly what they'll do.
Ask yourself, how often have you seen something online that you've headed out to investigate, and boom, you're 27 tabs and one Internet k-hole away from your original task?
We have very little time to grab someone's attention, we must make it stupidly easy for our audience to access our information.
Here's the thing, it's so easy to make this happen!
Do you want your audience to buy an item from you? Give them the URL. Do you want people to like your page? Or follow you on Twitter? Or sign up for your newsletter...or...or? Make. It. Easy. Give them the URL to make it happen.
Otherwise, all of your hard work crafting what to say, uploading that pic, exerting that energy on social media has disappeared right into the ether...with your sales.
Links are imperative to track where people are coming from and if your content is being engaged with! (Especially if they direct to your website or shop.) I get it, ewwww, numbers. Scary! But come on! Lead generation data is an important part of your business that you should really be concentrating on and dedicating time to.
I'm not going to get into data here today, but most of the above link shortening services give you basic data to see how many clicks and re-shares your content is receiving. It's important to pay attention to how well your content performs.
Take an extra, important step and always tag people, brands, and companies that you are referring to in your posts. Find their handle and include it. This increases the chances of your content being shared, and then helps it get in front of more eyeballs, which in turn gives you more reach.
I wrote a post about the drag and drop free design tool, Canva and not only have they shared it numerous times on Twitter, but Guy Kawasaki shared it on Linkedin. My website stats have quintupled today (yes, that is not a made up exaggerated word, my stats increased by more than 5x) all because I took a minute to tag both the company and their Chief Evangelist.
People like it when you mention them!
Right now, Instagram does not allow links to render as clickable. Instead of taking the time to type out on that tiny keyboard a long URL (that let's face it, you may misspell) direct your followers to your profile, where you can put the specific link, and make mention of it in your copy:
Do the leg work
Adding a CTA, and tagging people literally takes seconds to complete, and they can only increase your brand awareness, sales, and shares. If you are going to take the energy to carve out time in your day to post to social media, be sure you're doing the leg work to make it easy for your readers to find your product.
Make your hard work pay off. Otherwise, it's just not worth it.